The government of Japan on Monday announced grant aid worth around 560 million Japanese Yen (US$5.2 million) to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to support Agri-Food and Agro-Industry Development in Pakistan’s Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.
Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between, Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda and Country Representative of UNIDO Nadia Aftab.
A grant Agreement on the details of implementation of the project was signed and exchanged between Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shigeki Furuta, and Nadia Aftab in the presence of Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security & Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan.
The grant amount will be utilized by UNIDO to pilot the enhancement of productivity and compliance capacities of relevant actors in the cattle meat value chain within selected production areas / districts of KP (Peshawar, Abbottabad, Kohistan and D.I. Khan) and apple value chain in Balochistan (Killa Saifullah, Killa Abdullah, Pishin and Quetta).
The project will simultaneously support the relevant governmental bodies to offer adequate services to the industry at a sustainably manner and ensure the sustainability and the possibility to upscale best practices.
As an expected result of this project it will revitalize the livelihood of value chain actors, covering their daily income from the apple and cattle value chains and to improve practices of food manufacturers and processors along with the related enabling environment across two provinces of Pakistan.
While welcoming the Japanese government’s initiative, Sahibzada Sultan said agriculture was a priority area for the Government of Pakistan in order to ensure food security for all segments of the society.
“A growing agriculture sector not only plays a vital role in boosting national economy but also helps in reducing poverty and improving access to quality and safe food. The main emphasis of the new ‘National Food Security Policy’ is on improving nutrition diversification of agriculture through an enhanced focus on high value horticulture and livestock,” he said.
Kuninori Matsuda in his remarks said Japan had decided to support this project because almost 60pc of people work for Agri-Industry in KP and Balochistan.
“We expect this project will reduce food losses, improve supply chain management, and will add more value to products, which will lead to more income generation. We believe this achievement will contribute to socio-economic stability of targeted provinces. Agriculture sector of Pakistan will remain one of the priority areas for Japan to support,” he said.
JICA’s chief representative Shigeki Furuta said, diversification of farmers’ income and creation of assets through development of high-value livestock, and fruit tree crops were the strategy of JICA Agriculture Programme.
Through this Project on Agri-Food & Agro-Industry Development Assistance in Pakistan, we hope UNIDO and partner provincial agriculture departments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will be able to develop and strengthen the capacity of producers and processors engaged in cattle meat value chain and apple value chain industries in both provinces, he said.
Thanking the government of Japan for its financial assistance, Nadia Aftab said, Government of Japan is an important strategic partner and the largest contributor to our organization. Currently, there is a lot of work being done to promote the UNIDO-GoJ partnership.
UNIDO has long standing and collaboration while providing technical assistance to government of Pakistan and this unique initiative would also mark the first direct collaboration between UNIDO and JICA for the betterment of selected communities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan while working very closely with the Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research and provincial agriculture departments, she said.
The ceremony was attended by officials from the Embassy of Japan, Economic Affairs Division and Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperation Department of KP.